Tag Archive | Critical thinking

Raw and Real #8 – Too Much Process

Last time we talked about excavation.

Excavation and processing whatever we happen to find in our past.

I shared with you how in my excavation, I found much heart ache, most of it inflicted by others, but a goodly part of it, inflicted by my very own thoughts and behaviors.

I believe that the way I was wired, the fact that I didn’t mind being alone, probably saved me from even bigger problems.

I fully believe that God was there for me, hating what was happening, but allowing it for a reason, and protecting my heart of hearts.

That reason was to be of help to someone else at a later time.

It may even be you.

I was not without pain, in fact the internal pain was immense, but I always had a sense of “something”, God? being nearby, even though I was not yet aware of His name.

As an adult, I so appreciate that protection, and the fact that I have been able to “be renewed in the spirit of my mind” (Ephesians 4:23), it is a different kind of peace.

Peace without the weight of the past.

 As my mind was being renewed, I learned to be at deep peace while I was alone.

 In John 14:27 it says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

So now, here we get to the “Over processing” part.

I began not just enjoying my alone time, but now I had the ability to indulge myself in it.

I enjoyed it so much that I began to demand it in every part of my life.

I chose always to stay home.

I chose not to be around others, unless I absolutely had to, because you know, people are messy.

I had reached a point in the process where I was;

Just. So. Content.

This was fine for a time.

A good long time actually.

But there is a →down side to quiet.←(Read more here)

 I then began to feel a heaviness, the very thing I had worked so hard to get rid of!

So I ended up praying and asking God how to fix it.

He reminded me of something that Brene’ Brown said “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

What I learned here was the fact that just because I worked on my emotions, and had them under control, does not mean I never have to do it again.

It is very important to feel the bad as well as the good.

So did I have to do some more “inside work” to do?

Another thing I remembered hearing was that; even good things can become destructive when carried to the extreme.

These ideas being brought back to my memory, made me realize that in all of my quiet “processing”, I was making myself deaf to all of the other voices that I could be learning from.

I was hearing “God’s voice”, but many times God’s voice sounds just like mine.

So I had to be really sure I knew what He’s was thinking!

If I am getting input from like minded individuals, or even from those I disagree with, I can have the ability to think and compare.

Critical thinking gets dulled when you’re always alone.

Big changes were on the horizon.

It was slow and steady, but I began to allow some people around me back into my life.

Did I mention it was SLOW?

Very slow, and very thoughtful.

I began allowing people back into my circle.

They did not even necessarily agree with my world view, but they did have open minds, and listening ears, and I might add, positive attitudes, with a willingness to learn.

We have taught each other so much.

I said all that, to say this;

Process well.

Process as long as you need to, but be aware when it is time to venture back out again.

You can always come back to your →cave to rest.← (read more here )

The Garden Tomb

Join me next time for Raw and Real #9 -Write. 

Until then….

One Thing I Missed

As many people do, at the beginning of the year, I’ve been considering the year just finished, and digging deep to find how the year I’m entering can be better; more productive, more quiet, more adventurous, more of whatever it is supposed to be.

Like a hastily taken photograph, there has been a lot of noise in this picture.

I have been able to narrow that noise down to three top priorities.

I posted about them here and here.

In short, they are; 1. Use my writing to help others to heal from their trauma. 2. Take my photography to a higher level to show God’s magnificence and 3. To help people in a more person to person sort of way.

All of these simply mean that I need to stop making excuses, and carve out more time to work on each of these things.

All this past month or so, a different kind of thought has been surfacing around me.

It manifests in different ways and places, but it means the same thing.

I simply MUST take more time to be quiet.

Remain still.

I don’t mean just idle, we all know how to do that.

What I mean is taking that time to quiet the noise inside, so that I can think more clearly.

If you know me, you know that I am a big proponent of “Quietude”, even to the point of making little YouTube spots to help in the process.

Truth time; For the past six months or so, I haven’t been making those spots, or even using them for what they are created for.

It happens.

Life takes a turn sometimes and gets crazy.

When the crazy comes to an end, it takes some time to get back to where we (read I) need to be so we can gain some strength back – mentally, physically or spiritually.  

Enter oversleeping, overeating, over social media-ing, binge watching TV.

This isn’t all bad; the trick is to know when that time is here to stop it, and then do something about it!

One of the ways that it is being made clear to me that it’s time is through a little daily devotion that I read.

Over the last little while, it keeps talking about time, and how it’s been difficult, busy, frustrating and somewhat stagnant.

It also has been encouraging in regards to priorities, entering a new phase of life, knowing I’m not the only one, and resisting the urge (or the habit) of staying hidden away.

These devotions have talked about the significant (I like that word!) changes that have taken place during this time; and now it is time to accomplish what these changes are bringing to pass.

Coming out of this place of retreat, can seem overwhelming.

The habits that help us to be calm, take time to bring to the surface again;

The New and Improved Model!

It seems slow, even one step ahead is always preferred.

But it all makes me want to run forward.

Then today two things came in front of me almost simultaneously;   

  • I heard a friend speak (on Facebook Live) that I hadn’t heard in a while. He was talking about “Zoning out”. His word for “Quietude”. And how he must do this every day, to quiet the noise, to turn off the world we live in, so he can think; the silence speaks volumes. The “Mind of Christ” becomes clearer to him at these times.
  • Today’s devotion was this; January 14, 2020:  Take a breath and settle down, says the Lord.  I know your sense of urgency and impatience to get a move on, but right now I need you to be tolerant and long-suffering.  Otherwise, you will remove yourself from the flow of divine destiny.  Keep yourself in My Spirit and take life as it comes with the grace I will provide.  Romans 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Oh my goodness.

Gently and kindly I’ve been being pushed in this direction – and then today……

It didn’t seem very gentle.

It seemed very firm and deliberate.

Listen up.

Take the time.

I used to teach people that even if you start with five minutes, it could help.

Then you can move the time out as your grow in strength.

But God can work with ANY time that we give Him.

How did this get left off of my priority list?

Well its back on there folks.

Beginning today!

“Quietude” first!

The results will be amazing!

I’ve experienced them before, those “Quietude” moments.

And look forward to enjoying them again!

Thanks for staying with me.

Until next time!

The Right Direction in 2020

Moving on.

Here are a few tips for resolving cognitive dissonance; this article suggests asking the following questions.

  • What are the two cognitions that aren’t fitting together?
  • What actions would I need to take to eliminate that dissonance?
  • Do I need to change any specific behaviors? Or do I need to change a mindset or belief?
  • How important is it for me to resolve the dissonance?

It seems that cognitive dissonance is quite similar to holy dissatisfaction, which I addressed in this post.

It has two abilities; it can put you in a place where you are stuck in the dark, or it can shine on that darkness, and give you a means to get into the light.

We get to choose.

So here I’ll do some inner work right out in the open.

Feel free to stick with me while I ruminate.

In my previous post, I listed three separate areas that are always on my mind, but somehow, there seems to be some cognitive dissonance going on.

  1. Helping people isn’t clear enough.

*What are the two cognitions that aren’t fitting together? My desire to help people vs. my desire to stay at home with my own thoughts is clearly at odds with each other.

*What actions would I need to take to eliminate that dissonance? I need to MAKE time for others and observe people better for places where they can use help.

*Do I need to change any specific behaviors? Or do I need to change a belief or a mindset? Be more discerning.

Sometimes helping people is not only physical, as in helping them clean out a closet, paint a room , or move across town.

Sometimes it is simply sitting quietly with them while they take time to grieve or to try to figure things out.

Discernment and timing are most important here.

The belief I need to change is that in many cases, I feel like folks can work it out themselves, why would they need my help?

When likely, they are too afraid to or shy to ask for it.

How many times do we say “I don’t want to bother you but….?”

They probably do too.

*How important is it for me to resolve the dissonance? Resolving this dissonance is imperative.                                                                                                                                

  • Just writing isn’t enough.

*What are the two cognitions that aren’t fitting together? It is said by many, that to be a writer, you must write.

Writers write. That’s what they do.

Every day; I need to write every day.  

Also, great writers read, a lot.

I go in cycles, even though I know that writing often, makes writing easier, and reading many different sources, whether you agree with what has been written, or not, causes your brain to be more creative, and more critical in its thinking, allows thoughts to flow more freely.

*What actions would I need to take to eliminate that dissonance? I have journals and documents full of junk.

Inside those tomes of junk though, there are jewels.

Lessons learned.

Grievances grieved.

Abundance of joy portrayed, even atrocities forgiven.

I need to take more time to excavate them, and share the most helpful parts.

*Do I need to change any specific behaviors? Or do I need to change a mindset or belief? I believe my mindset to be sound, but my behaviors can get out of sync.

I am very good when I have a schedule; I have a schedule.

When cognitive dissonance shows up, my schedules go out the window. Laziness or fogginess then prevails.

One thing I have found, is that just because you have a schedule, doesn’t mean it is forever.

Recognizing when it becomes obsolete is a big thing.

When this happens, I need not delay – but change it!

Changing it up is most helpful. How about doing that instead of binge watching something on TV?

*How important is it for me to resolve the dissonance? One of my mentors, Sharon, tells a story of her driving passed a graveyard once, and having to pull over to the side of the road because she was weeping so hard. (She is not a crier!)

She prayed and asked why she was having this response, and the answer she heard was that she was weeping for all the gifts and talents that were buried there in that grave yard that had never been realized.

Well I’m not much of a crier either, but if I had the the sense of going to my grave without sharing all that my experiences have taught me, well, that would make me cry too.                                               

  • Enjoying taking photos isn’t enough.

*What are the two cognitions that aren’t fitting together? I enjoy taking photos of natural things.

I love clouds, skies, sunrises, sunsets, rivers, and mountains. All of these have found their way into the view finder; on my phone.

I have a regular camera. I don’t know how to use it.

I’ve always been a watcher, so to speak, but when I started taking photos on my phone, I began to realize that I was looking are so much more than just clouds.

They are an expression of God’s love for me, and these things show me just how much he wants me to enjoy all that He has created.

These things show His power and His majesty.

*What actions would I need to take to eliminate that dissonance? I’ve printed out all the camera instructions so that they are easy to see.

Just like reading, I need to take the time to study the manual, and then actually do the work.

*Do I need to change any specific behaviors? Or do I need to change a mindset or belief? The biggest behavior is what I listed before, Schedule, rework that schedule. I need to schedule time for writing, schedule time for reading, schedule time for learning. 

Then stick with it! (Practice what I preach!)

*How important is it for me to resolve the dissonance? It will be the difference between being successful, or being stagnant.

The first part of 2019, I did really well in my journal.

For the second half of the year, my blog posts have been very regular, even if the topics were super varied. (Maybe that is better?) 

This morning I was able to read the article from magazine that inspired A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. (Movie with Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers)

(It seems like a rabbit trail, but stay with me) Growing up, Mr. Rogers was my hero, I dare say, even now.

He was perhaps my very first REAL friend.

I didn’t know it then, but perhaps Fred Rogers was a representation of Jesus to me then.

One who loved me no matter what. He “wanted to do things right, and whatever he did right, he wanted to repeat.”

Can You Say Hero? Tom Junod – Esquire Magazine – November 1998. In this article, it tells how Fred Rogers always had a schedule He kept it daily.

His ability to maintain that schedule; put him in a position to help multitudes of children, and adults; generations!  

Oh that I could represent my Jesus in such a way.

Thanks for hanging out with me while I processed just a little through the discrepancies that I see that hold me back.

Let 2020 be the year that we set ourselves free.

Free to help others and to do all that we are tasked to do before we’re done.

Mr. Rogers

Review Your Bubble

Long ago (2016), I wrote a blog post all about living life in a bubble.

You can read it here;

https://significantencounters.com/2016/08/30/living-life-in-a-bubble/

Somewhere in there, was the thought about “Holy discontent”.

Has your discontent caused you to hide in that bubble?

Or has your discontent helped you to find a way out, and on to something new?

And about considering your bubble – Is it a comfy place? Or a prison?

Recognizing the difference is really important.

Here is where we need to be able to discern the difference between hiding,

and simply taking time away to understand where our contentment lies.

Don’t become stuck.

Don’t get too comfy.

Growth and discomfort – they seem to go hand in hand.

Learn from your discontent – it may push you further than you might think possible.

We tend to learn more when the storm is raging – if we don’t hide from it.

Let me encourage you, as I have had to encourage myself, to see your bubble for what it is.

Stay there for as long as is healthy, then,

Step out of it.

See what God has in store for you on the other side.

Screen Life

Late in the Summer, our church always has a huge service/picnic at a local park.

It’s a great opportunity to not only be outside, but to gather together and hang out with other church goers in a way that isn’t always done.

In a word, it’s refreshing.

Here is what I noticed;

Note that the pastors are standing in front of a large screen.

It’s there of course so that folks can see even if they are far away.

Here’s the thing;

Even though I was up close and personal, I still found myself looking at the screen instead of the pastors.

I must admit that I find myself looking at the screen even when we are gathered inside.

While inside in Israel, I found the same thing.

Note that the lovely Jane is also on a screen.

(In my defense I was in the back of the room, and the screen came in very handy)

I’ve since been looking around everywhere I go, and I see the same thing.

I know that you do too.

Screens are predominant.

They are every where, being held by every one.

Look what we are doing here even now, looking at a screen.

It can be said that we are creating relationship, and in a way we are; but there is a large drawback;

I’m speaking for myself when I say this;

It is far easier for me to talk to others, from the other side of a screen.

It’s easier for me to watch a movie or a video than to read a book.

My concentration level has been greatly decreased since the advent of screens everywhere in my life.

So what can we do?

Personally, I have had to say yes to more “Social” things than I have in the past.

Places where I have to leave my phone in my pocket, with the volume turned off.

Places where I am expected to actually speak instead of type.

Photo from Google

Our kids have more screen time than is healthy for them, many are provided with laptops instead of regular books.

Now I don’t mind telling you that sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat!

I do however have training that came from a time BEFORE screen time and 280 character rants.

For this, I am grateful; at least I know it is POSSIBLE to read and write.

This is the only world my grandchildren have ever known.

Looking a screens, speaking in memes and emojis.

Are we spoiling our children’s ability to read, and comprehend?

I have noted, and actually heard it said, that when trying to memorize Bible verses, one can do it much better in an actual Bible than on some kind of device.

Is it like turning off the device turns off your brain as well?

So reading and memorizing is tactile as well as mental?

I gave a postcard to one of my grand daughters after our trip to Israel.

She commented that she could barely read cursive; but just enough to know what I had written on the card.

Do you have any ideas that you would care to share about how you handle screen time in your life and realm?

Please do share with us in the comments any ideas you may have on this topic.

Perhaps we can make a difference here.

Until next time….

Your Mindset is Critical!

You know that old saying; When it rains, it pours?

This is said to be a proverb meaning that misfortunes or difficult situations tend to follow each other in rapid succession or to arrive all at the same time.

Bad times, like migraines, seem to come together in clusters.

So what in the world can we do to survive these times?

I’ll let you know MY thoughts on the matter, and then, I’d love to hear YOURS!

I was reading a transcript of a conference my husband and I attended back in 2017, and came across the following quote;

“Opposition attaches itself to what you do not remove. Blessings attach themselves to what you respond to in obedience.”

Graham Cooke – Aglow International Global Conference – Richmond, VA – 2017

So what is it exactly, that I should be removing?

I firmly believe that what we allow to roll around in our heads effects the outcome of our daily lives, or at least how we respond to those things.

So. I must DECLARE WAR on the NEGATIVITY that accumulates around me.

I may not be able to erase all of that negativity, but I can surely control how I respond to it!

I can think of several ways to begin this process; but it does begin with a decision.

A quality decision that I will no longer allow the negativity of the world or my own circumstances to weigh me down.

To be certain; This can be, has been, and will be, a daily process. To keep the quality of that decision.

So here are some ideas;

  • Make that decision, old habits die hard, make that decision again!
  • Determine how much news you want to take in. Personally, my news only comes from highly trusted sources – and then only in tiny pieces. Try adding some funny videos instead.
  • Consider who you are hanging around with. – Debbie Downer? Negative Nelly? Long ago, I had to restrict my visits with a really good friend, until she got her negativity under control. Find someone who makes your heart smile.
  • What are you reading? News, news, news? Drama, drama, drama? These things have a different effect on different individuals. Find out for yourself, and if they weigh you down – Quit them! There is so much variety out there! Try something a bit more light hearted.
  • Take some quiet time for yourself – Every Day – three minutes or thirty, whatever you can get away with. Literal quiet, or an activity that calms your heart and mind.
  • Stop complaining! Yes. It is so negative. I remember telling God that if I didn’t complain, I wouldn’t have anything to say. Well then………? I had to tell myself to “Just. Stop. Talking.” Until I got it under control.
  • I find that reading the Holy Bible in my favorite version the ESV, has a super calming effect on my thought life. Life changing actually. Giving my brain positive input instead of negative. I have friends who prefer the poetry route – whatever works for you!

I am positive there are as many ways to come against negativity as there are people.

I would love it if you would share your ideas with me either in the comments or in a message. Whatever works for you.

So back to the quote; “Opposition attaches itself to what you don’t remove, blessings attach to what you respond to in obedience.” (In this case, he is describing obedience to scripture)

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The Holy Bible – English Standard Version – BibleGateway.com

What will you remove?

What will you add in it’s place?

How will you respond?

Your mindset is critical!